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Fallacious Atheist Arguments (i.e., Atheist Mythology)

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posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 04:37 AM
You probably have seen these atheist assertions several times in their postings on ATS. If you access any of the skeptic web sites you will most likely come across one or more of them. All have been repeated over and over in one form or another and apparently copied from one site to another (usually without any critical analysis). All have been refuted.


This theory asserts that Christianity is merely a copy of prior pagan religions modified to fit Peter's and Paul's world views. It lists a plethora of "crucified saviors" prior to Christianity with the implication that the early Christians adopted these concepts from prior pagan religions. None of the examples really bear any merit. Almost all of the gods listed come from the book "The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors" written by Kersey Graves in 1875. The scholarship in this book is almost non-existent with no quotations from source material (i. e., Hindu literature). For example Krishna and Buddha are both listed as being "born of a virgin". Well Krishna was the eighth son of Devaki. Although there were some supernatural events surrounding the birth of Siddhattha Gautama (Buddha), there is no claim that he was born of a virgin. (The supernatural claim is a prediction that Siddhattha would either become a great king or a great holy man). Also Siddhattha's early life was anything but humble; he grew up in a palace. Krishna died when he was shot in the left foot when mistaken for a deer by a hunter. (That's more of a parallel to Achilles). Siddhattha Gautama died of natural causes (old age) at the age of 80. In this posting I will not deal with each of the "crucified saviors", for more detailed refutations go the the following:

Now here are some links to atheist thoughts on the subject:

Even though the "similarities between (you fill in the blank) and Christianity" have been refuted many times, this is still a cherished concept of the atheists who will find the most tenuous links between "you fill in the blank" and Christianity. My personal experiences include:

Me (in a thread) : Siddhattha Buddha was not crucified, but died of old age under a tree.
Atheist Response : Well, being under a tree was what was important.

Me (in a thread) : Well Krishna was not born of a virgin; he was the eight son of Devaki.
Atheist Response : Well in eastern cultures, the concept of virginity is different than ours.

The sad thing is that the atheists like to tell us what all these people believe or believed (Hindus, Buddhists, etc.) without ever quoting one of their relevant documents.


"Q" stands for the German word "Quelle" which means source. The contention is that there was one of more "Q" documents which predated the Gospels of Matthew and Luke; the authors of Matthew and Luke used text from "Q" document (or documents) to write their books. There are textual similarities between Matthew and Luke which leads to the proponents of "Q" theory to claim that one or more "prototype" manuscripts predated Matthew and Luke. Among the proposals is the following:

"Q1" (circa 50 CE) Describes Jesus as a Jewish philosopher-teacher.
"Q2" (circa 60 CE) Views Jesus as a Jewish apocalyptic prophet.
"Q3" (circa 75 CE) Jesus is described as a near-deity who converses directly with God and Satan.

The atheists use this to make the claim that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written by unknown persons and not by Jesus' disciples. Therefore the Gospels are forgeries. Also the skeptics like to point out that Paul's Epistles do not contain any references to the life of Jesus.

For a general discussion on "Q" and the Gospels access the following links:

What the atheists don't point out in their web sites is that a "Q" manuscript has never been discovered nor are there any references to such a document recorded in antiquity (early Christian writings). In short there is no archaeological evidence that such a manuscript ever existed. Yet the skeptics talk about "Q" as if they are holding the relevant documents in their hands. To quote what the Christian apologist Glenn Miller wrote:

Remember, we have NO ARCHEOLOGICAL or TEXTUAL DATA WHATSOEVER that supports the BELIEF of 'layers'. When the NT manuscripts appear in the digs, they are FULLY FORMED as they are today (read: "NO TRANSITIONAL FORMS"!). This MUST be understood. The one "HARD" discipline we have in this arena is Textual Criticism, which deals with archeological 'facts'--real, existing, manuscripts. All speculation about forms, and sources, and dislocations in the text, and layers are OUTSIDE this 'hard discipline'. The Alands, working in the field for 50+ years, point out this 'control element' quite forcefully:

Now we turn to the authorship of the Gospels. Reference the following links:

The earliest known complete copy of the New Testament is the Codex Sinaiticus which is dated to the 4th century, between 325CE and 360CE ( There are manuscripts containing portions of the Gospels which can be dated as early 125CE to 160CE. The skeptics like to contend that it was hundreds of years between the Crucification and the writing of the Gospels, yet there exists manuscripts which date from one hundred years to three hundred years(complete New Testament) after the Crucification of Christ. Historians would love to get their hands on a manuscript of Tacitus that close to the original text. Here are some time spans for secular documents.

Author Date Written Earliest Copy Time Span Copies
Herodotus (History) 480BCE - 425BCE 900CE 1,300 years 8
Thucydides (History) 460BCE - 400BCE 900CE 1,300 years ?
Aristotle (Philosopher) 384BCE - 322BCE 1,100CE 1,400 years 5
Caesar (History) 100BCE - 44BCE 900CE 1,000 years 10
Pliny (History) 61CE - 113CE 850CE 750 years 7
Suetonius (Roman History) 70CE - 140CE 950CE 800 years ?
Tacitus (Roman History) 100CE AD 1,100CE 1,000 years 20

Also Bishop Irenaeus of Lugdunum, Gaul (now Lyons, France) wrote in his "Against Heresies" (circa 180CE) the following

Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.

This is important that it indicates that the early church ascribed authorship of the Gospels to the men for which the Gospels were subsequently named (i. e., Mark really did write the Gospel of Mark). Throughout "Against Heresies", Irenaeus makes quotes from the Gospels from which a significant portion of the Gospels could be reconstructed. Hence we have that the Gospels in a complete form existed at least before 180CE, authorship had been credited to the men for which the Gospels were named, only the four Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John) were accepted by the early church. The last point is important for it indicates that Council of Nicaea (325CE) was not entirely arbitrary in including only the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John in the Bible, those were the ones which had been approved by the early church.

There is an additional contention from certain skeptics; silences about Jesus in the New Testament other than the Gospels prove that Jesus did not exist in the minds of Paul and the other epistle writers. They considered Him a spiritual being who never walked the earth as a flesh-and-blood human being. Well Paul's Epistles were letters written to address various situations and problems in the early churches. In such documents you would not expect Paul to address such matters as "Jesus was born in Bethlehem" for the reason that this kind of information was not pertinent to the subject matter of the letter and was already known by the recipients of the letter. However one biblical quote:

1 Corinthians 15
12. Now if Christ is preached that he hath been raised from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13. But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither hath Christ been raised:
14. and if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain.
15. Yea, we are found false witnesses of God; because we witnessed of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead are not raised.
16. For if the dead are not raised, neither hath Christ been raised:

This indicates that Paul indeed thought of Jesus as physical person. For more information:

The skeptics view would lead us to believe that there was a vast conspiracy orchestrated by Paul and company generating forgeries to fool a gullible public. The speak of forgeries when the evidence indicates that the Gospels were written before 100CE and by persons historically credited for their authorship.

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[edit on 19/4/2010 by Mirthful Me]

[edit on 19-4-2010 by jagdflieger]

[edit on 19-4-2010 by jagdflieger]

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[edit on 19/4/2010 by Mirthful Me]

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 04:38 AM

Here is another favorite criticism levied by the skeptic (usually by one who is totally uniformed about the subject). The contention is something on the order: "The New Testament has over 200,000 variants and in 400 instances, the variants change the meaning of the text; 50 of these are of great significance". The implication is that we cannot determine what was originally written in the Gospels because there are so many "variants" that there is no way to discern what the authors wrote. This the way the game is played. If you have one copy of a manuscript, then there can be no variants. If you have two copies and one states "Inter Milan defeated Manchester United 5 goals to 0" and the other states "Inter Milan defeated Manchester United 5 to 0", then you have a variant because the word "goal" is in one copy and not the other. Or course the meaning of the passages remain the same. The more copies you have, the more variants you will have when this occurs and there are a lots and lots of copies of New Testament material from the early church lying around. From the illustration above if you have 2500 copies of "Inter Milan defeated Manchester United 5 goals to 0" and 2500 copies of "Inter Milan defeated Manchester United 5 to 0", you will have 5000 variants (rather than one). You can easily see how the number of variants can reach staggering numbers using this kind of counting.

Most of the (95%) of the variants found in the New Testament manuscripts are recognized as unintentional changes which include:
Substitution of similar letters and combinations of letters.
Omission of words between repeated phrases.
Addition of letters by repetition.
From likeness of pronunciation or by incorrect spelling.
Substitution of synonyms and nearly equivalent expressions.
Transposition of words to a more usual order (e.g., change "of Jesus Christ" for "of Christ Jesus")
Transposition of letters.
Addition of words from adjacent or parallel passages.
Addition of expected pronouns.
By incorporation of marginal notes wrongly taken as corrections.
The other 5% of the variants are recognize as being intentional and include:
Additions to make the meaning more plain.
Harmonization related passages.
Removal of difficulties which would require tedious explanation.
Emphasis of important teachings ("Joseph" substituted for "his father").
Reflection or promotion monastic customs ("and fasting" added after "prayer").
While this may sound like a terrible situation to the uninformed, the simple fact is that the majority of the variants can be cleared up my a careful reading of the text, e. g., the copyist simply misspelled the word or used an alternate spelling for the word (is it "color" or is it "colour"). As much as the critics like to make mention of the "manuscript variants", the simple fact is "No doctrine of Christianity is in the least dependent on ANY textual variant" (J. P. Holding).

The atheists like to make a big deal about the "textual variants", but they fail to mention the nature of the "variants". Also they fail to show where any "variant" would change Christian doctrine. For more information concerning textual variations:


Another favorite thesis of the skeptics. They give an entire list of ancient writers and then state:

Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, according to Remsburg, "aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ." Nor, do any of these authors make note of the Disciples or Apostles -- increasing the embarrassment from the silence of history concerning the foundation of Christianity.

When I read the skeptic charges of forgery, I am reminded of the following story:

In the 1930's there was a mob "hit man" who terminated his victims by three shots in the forehead arranged in a triangular pattern. One day the police picked up this hit man and took him to the morgue and show him a body with three small caliber bullet holes in the forehead arranged in a neat triangle. The police asked him "Well what about this?" The hit man looked at the body and replied, "Obviously, a forgery".

What I mean is that the skeptics tend to use the contention "It's a forgery" as a set answer whenever there is any historical evidence which does not fit their world view.

To begin, many of the writers on the list I seen contains ancient writers who had no reason the write about Jesus. It was beyond the scope of their literature. It listed Martial who was a poet, Damis who was a philosopher, Pomponius Mela and Pausanias who were geographers, etc. In law this is called "lack of subject matter jurisdiction"; the subject matter (Judean history) is not part of the authors literary scope. You cannot expect someone writing love poetry to mention a crucifixion in Jerusalem. This sort like the skeptics going to a library dedicated to the history of World War II and complaining that none of the books contain any reference to Tukey and Cooley. For more information on contemporary writers who had no reason to mention Jesus, reference to following link:

Much of the evidence that may have existed in the first century has not survived. There are no Roman court records from Jerusalem (or much of Roman court records any other place). Of the thousands known to have been crucified there is only a single archaeological discovery of a crucified body dating back to the Roman Empire around the time of Jesus, the body remains had a heel bone with a nail driven through its side. Other than literary references, that is the only example of forensic evidence that the Romans ever crucified anyone. The evidence that even Tacitus ever existed is skimpy when compared to today's standards. What is known about him comes from hints in his work, letters of Pliny the Younger, an inscription found at Mylasa in Caria, and of course educated guesswork. The atheists like to make us believe that there is no credible mention of Jesus in a huge body of material from the Roman Empire. The truth is that very little archaeological evidence and records of the Roman Empire have survived until today. Most Roman historians would take little note of an itinerant preacher in Judea when they had Caligula (and others) to write about.

However there are references to Jesus from contemporary sources:

Josephus (Antiquities)

Antiquities 20.9.1 But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood, was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews, as we have already shown. As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned.

Antiquities 18.3.3 Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.

Now the critics claim that the entire passages are forgeries added by Christian scribes. However they do show up in all the copies of Josephus. No serious Christian scholar denies that there are interpolations (such as "He was the Christ"), but the critics claim that the passages are complete forgeries does not hold water either. For a detailed discussions concerning Josephus, see:

Lucian (The Passing of Peregrinus)

Lucian was a playwright and satirist of the second century. The play concerned a Cynic philosopher (Peregrinus) who becomes a Christian, becomes prominent in the Christian community, the returned to Cynicism.

From this satirist and playwright of the second century, we have two quotes from a play entitled "The Passing of Peregrinus." The hero of the tale, Peregrinus, was a Cynic philosopher who became a Christian, rose in prominence in the Christian community, then returned to Cynicism. Lucian's attack is not so much on Christianity, but on the person of Peregrinus, who took advantage of the Christians' simplicity and gullibility. [Alli.Luc, 99]

The first quotes tells of Peregrinus, who learned "the wondrous lore of the Christians," became one of their leaders and was revered as a god, lawgiver, and protector, "next after that other, to be sure, whom they (the Christians) still worship, the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult to the world." [Harm.Luc, 13]

The second quote, regarding these same Christians: "Then, too, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers...after they have thrown over and denied the gods of Greece and have done reverence to that crucifed sophist himself and live according to his laws."

For a detailed exposition:

Mara bar-Serapion (letter)

What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that their Kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; He lived on in the teaching which He had given.

For more information:

Pliny the Younger, Governor of Bithynia

In a correspondence (106CE) to the emperor Trajan, Pliny included a report on proceedings against Christians:

They affirmed, however, that the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a god, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft, adultery, never to falsify their word, not to deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up.

For details:

Tacitus (Annals)

Of course Tacitus is probably the most important Roman historian of the second century and is the most famous of the Roman historians. The following quote comes from his Annals 15.44:

But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.

Tacitus is probably the most credible of the Roman historians, you can get a very detailed discussion from the following:

We will conclude this sections with the following points:
1. The reason we have certain copies of Josephus and Tacitus is because of Christian scribes. Now if I were a scribe in a monastery intent of making a forgery (other than some interpolation, or "tweaking"), you best believe that whole pages would have been dedicated to the life of Jesus. Hence these passages do bear the "ring of authenticity".
2. The skeptics like to make the "argument based on silence" (since the claim that no contemporary secular references to Jesus exist implies that Jesus was a myth). We will make our own "argument based on silence". By 64CE, Christianity have enough followers in Rome for Nero to take notice of them and blame the fire of Rome on them. In other areas, they were getting the reputation of being "trouble makers". If there was a hint that Jesus was a mythical figure, then surely some secular source would have mentioned something on the order "these loonies believe in some guy who never existed". Indeed the lack of such statements in the Jewish Talmud are telling:

Further, we may point out again, as Wilson has, that if there were any hint that Jesus was a mythical figure, we would expect that the Talmuds would aim some polemics in that fertile direction. As it is, there are no such statements; and it strains credulity to say that the authors of the Talmud would have simply taken Christians' word for Jesus' existence if evidence existed to the contrary (and it would have existed, had that truly been the case -- there would be "holes" in the historical record big enough to drive a Borg cube through).

The anger and distaste expressed in the Talmud for Christianity leads to a solid inference that any useful information against it would have been taken up as a weapon. Therefore, they may be taken as an independent and reliable witness for the mere fact of Jesus' existence, while not necessarily that for actions and sayings of Jesus. And of course, just because they are polemic, this does not automatically mean that they are not independent.


I once coined the term "the unskeptical skeptic" for indeed you will find the above assertions posted on skeptic web sites with no references to support them. Indeed "Krishna was born of a virgin", did the person who put this on his web site ever read anything about Krishna from Hindu sources? The skeptics love to assert that Christians are gullible and uncritical in their beliefs; yet the atheists uncritically accept assertions from atheist web sites and propagate those assertions without ever doing any research concerning the validity of the statements. Yes there are skeptics who know what they are doing and have knowledge of the subject (and have earned respect from Christian apologists), but these atheists are the minority. What we are seeing is the development of an atheist mythology.

Mod Edit: BB Code.

[edit on 19/4/2010 by Mirthful Me]

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 05:43 AM
Good stuff. Ever read Josh McDowell's "Evidence That Demands a Verdict"? It has a lot of the info you posted as well, it's actually the 1st apologetics book I read. The abundance of evidence in favor of Christianity is overwhelming. Be prepared for the same old replys, most of which will be typed without even reading the post.

What I am coming to realize is that most people don't care enough about the subject to even want to know the truth, thats why they believe ignorant videos like zeitgeist (which was refuted years ago) They care more about american idol, or whatever idol they are serving in life, and would just rather remain in the dark than face the hard truth. My personal favorite: when a person reads a couple of angry commentaries on a Bible story or two (on an athiest forum nonetheless), and then feels emboldened to discuss the contents of the entire book and faith. Classic

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 07:22 PM
reply to post by kingofmd

Well I am glad someone did read my posting. No I have not read "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" even though it highly rated. I am waiting for the same old replies, but so far all I hear is the sound of crickets. When you wrote "most people don't care enough about the subject to even want to know the truth", you were right on the mark. The average atheist (or skeptic) is too lazy to go beyond looking up a few passages at the Skeptics Annotated Bible web site with the nice funny little pictures in the commentary. Most likely if they even looked at the original posting, they gave up when they discovered it contained sentences longer than five words and more than one paragraph. Really the standard of scholarship has decayed drastically in the last few years. That is not to say that there are still people who do maintain a high level of scholarship but in the overall population, they are growing fewer and fewer. Indeed I stated that there are atheists who are well informed and have a high degree scholarship (and are respected by the Christian apologists), but those guys don't post here. My bet is that the average person who sees the title of this thread would think that "fallacious" is a reference to some kind of kinky sex act.

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